Rep. Underwood’s STEM Scholars visit Fermilab

On Saturday, Aug. 20, the Director’s office hosted U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood and 18 participants in her STEM Scholar Program who visited Fermilab to learn about the lab’s facilities, science programs and capabilities. The congresswoman and STEM Scholars enjoyed a full morning tour and overview of the science at Fermilab.

Rep. Underwood (center) and the STEM Scholars met with Director Lia Merminga (center, left) in Wilson Hall. Photo: Lynn Johnson, Fermilab

Rep. Underwood invites sophomore and junior high school students from the Illinois 14th Congressional District, home of Fermilab, who are interested in science, technology, engineering and math to participate in her STEM Scholar Program. It provides the students with opportunities to visit area STEM-related businesses and facilities with her and learn about potential career paths.

The tour kicked off with Director Lia Merminga welcoming the students and briefly presenting the history of Fermilab. Next was an overview of the Fermilab campus and its science programs. From there, the STEM Scholars received a tour of Short Baseline Near Detector and learned how SBND, one of three liquid argon neutrino detectors at Fermilab and the near detector in the Short-Baseline Neutrino Program, will record over a million neutrino interactions per year. Then wrapping up their visit, the students headed to the Technology Campus where they toured Superconducting Quantum Materials and Systems Center; there they heard how SQMS research focuses primarily on increasing the lifetime of qubits and aims to realize the next-generation quantum computers and sensors.

Throughout their tour, the students in the STEM Scholar program had the opportunity to learn about the range of science conducted at Fermilab. Photo: Lynn Johnson, Fermilab

“Hosting Congresswoman Underwood and her STEM Scholars was a pleasure, as always,” said Merminga. “Their visit was an excellent opportunity for us to showcase Fermilab and help foster an interest in STEM education and careers.”